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Old 12-11-2002, 03:41 PM
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Reply from Adam Vai Delaney

Can't agree more than what Meg has said. Sitting in Fiji, you do notice the difference in marketing. PNG's expenditure on tourism and travel promotion does not come close to Fiji's.

ESCAP and ASEAN (which PNG is a special Observer) have also indicated their willingness to assist - so take advantage of these opportunities please.

Forum will keep prodding our regional body (SPTO) to also spread the
"Pacific" publicity.

regards to all,

Yours sincerely,

Adam Vai Delaney
International Issues Advisor
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Old 12-11-2002, 06:21 PM
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Reply from Kevin Malai

Internal issues adversely affecting the Tourism Industry is well documented and I am sure TPA already knows who the Stakeholders in the Tourism Industry are.

Knows the key Tourism activities that can turn in big Tourism Dollars.
Identified the root causes contributing to low Tourist interest.
Formulated a Tourism Policy Paper on Standards for all Stakeholders - Value Adding Policy.

Got an undertaking by All Stakeholders to meet all Policy requirements.
Administering and measuring Stake Holder Activity to ensure delivery to TPA requirement.

Friends, I fully subscribe to commentaries by some of our Leading Papua New Guineans through this medium. At present we have a commodity to sell but unless refined to Marketing specification or standards, costs will far outweigh any gains generated.

I would like to see TPA be more active or proactive by changing the Customer Services culture within Stakeholder organisations,(ANG can start by ensuring Flight Attendants call themselves Inflight Customer Services Managers rather then Inflight Directors - former sounds more friendly), educating the Public through extension programs(EMTV ad is not enough), assisting Key Tourism Activities locally (support ideas or initiatives and assist simple P&L accounts to help Operators grow their business), work with City, Town and Provincial Authorities target Tourism related activities and infrastructure that will provide an atmosphere pleasant for Tourism.

An effort by ALL will add value in the long term hence give our Tourism
Industry saleable value. At present we got a lot to change and unless vast improvement is made we are not yet competitive in the Market Place.

Kevin Malai

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Old 12-11-2002, 11:29 PM
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I see many valid comments and suggestions relating to tourism and our country's economic situation.

Here's my 0.2t's worth..... I understand in NZ & Aust. tourism and it's related industries they are the largest employer and income earner.

Previously in the 50's & 60's they were primary producing countries dependent on export sales primarily to the UK. Then the UK joined the common market and NZ/AUST had to look to other forms of income. Tourism was identified as a serious income earner and it was developed over the 80's and 90's to become these country's No 1 product.

For PNG to do similar it would need a serious committment by the Nat. Govt. in terms of them heavily investing in promoting PNG as a desirable destination. Also the awareness as suggested would be needed and infrastructure development.

Unfortunately there is a 'fast buck' mentality here that either requires money up front or a quick return situation. Who ever heard of a bank giving a 30 year housing loan.

So in this regard the Govt of the day would be reluctand to invest millions (K10m would be a good start) in developing a tourisim industry annually when little of the return money does not pass back into the Govt. hands.... tourism revenue comes straight in to the local operators which is where it should be.

So why should the Govt invest in Tourism when they can generate massive immediate royalties and licensing fees from mining, petroleum, timber, fishing, copra, coffee etc. Investing into tourism which is a renewable resource would be a throw away until we have a Nat. Govt that is serious and is prepared to finance a long term strategy.

To develop the tourism industry would require our Nat. Govt to make a serious and professional financial committment in many related areas annually for the next few years before the returns would become evident.

Also the Provinces that feel they have tourism potencial would also have to committ themselves to establishing their image, marketing their products and funding resouce devleopment, training and awareness.

It is known in the industry that for every tourist visiting us around 18 persons will directly and indirectly benefit from the cashflow.

The revenue potential from tourism is huge along with the vast potential for employment of skilled and semiskilled staff within the tourism industry right down to the villager growing the fruit and vege's required.

Tourism is labour intensive and we have a product that we should be proud to promote in scenery, culture, sporting activites and the natural hospitality of the community.

Tourism brings in strong currencies and does not require a capital outflow. Serious tourism developemnt can surely be one of the ways we can recover from the depressed economy but we need a Nat. Govt that believes in investing in the future of it's people who are the key to developing the tourism resouce.

Alun Beck
Treehouse Village Resort
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Old 13-11-2002, 08:04 AM
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Viewpoint which was emailed to me !

PNG can not get tourists in until there are such cheap flights and accommodation that people will forget about the Bahamas, the Caribbean, other more stable parts of the Pacific and the Red Sea.
PNG travel and accommodation prevent tourism from starting. Also, we
need to get rid of out fear of foreigners ripping us off. The people
in PNG cannot get it together and foreign business people who have
the reources and experience to set up the infrastructure and the
country are made to feel like paraiahas.

Nor is there any encouragement by the Government who are so corrupt and inefficient and blinkered that the only way out that they see is to tax and punish until each foreign business packs up and goes to more welcoming shores. We are heading the way of Zambia at the moment.

I have just spent two months in countries that have built entire economies based on tourism and notice how they have achieved it and I realise that PNG does not stand much of a chance with the present attitudes of the Government. It has much to offer but no infrastructure.

There is very little hope of that infrastructure being put in place at this point in time.
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Old 13-11-2002, 09:55 AM
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Reply from Graham Michael - PNG Embassy

I couldn't help but contribute my two cents to the tourism commentaries from where I sit as an Embassy.

Most of what has been commented upon thus far are either complementary to what the TPA has been doing, or are subtle negative criticisms of the manner in which TPA and its line agencies (IRC, Foreign Affairs, Air Niugini, etc) handle tourists and tourism. I do not wish to take the latter approach as I would simply contribute to an already exhaustive discussion on the failures of our system and the people who are managing our tourism industry.

I would rather contribute practical tips and provide sample strategies to assist TPA revitalize or revamp its management and promotion of tourism. Planti toktok maski, nau emi taim bilong halivim.

Unlike Fiji and Bali, PNG has significant tourism resources and products. Fiji and Bali has sun, surf, culture and infrastructure to show for. PNG has sun, surf, mountains, fast-flowing rivers, bird-watching venues, tropical rainforests, diverse and rare flora and fauna, diverse culture and tribal groupings, largest language heritage, World War II relics and memorials, large open cut/pit mines, beautiful and rare marine life, products and sites, etc. Infrastructure-wise, a pity.

We have already identified these resources and products and promotional efforts are in place such as the TPA newsletter/newsflash and expositions. However, the question is; do we have a long term plan for the industry for broader development of resources and attractions at both the micro and macro levels. At present, I may be the only Mission that has no real sense of the long term goals for tourism development.

In my view, TPA should come up with a National and Provincial Tourism Development Master Plan and Strategy formulation. This plan and strategy should include inputs from all line government agencies such as Foreign Affairs & Immigration, IRC (Customs), Health (Quarantine), Labour & Employment; and private and quasi private sector community, such as first and third level airlines, tour operators/agents, etc.

The Master Plan should embrace the following:

Tourism Promotion and Marketing strategy; i.e. TPA newsletters, roadshows, expositions, seminars targeting niche market tourists (eg. University field trips to heritage and anthropological sites, tour cycling along Buluminski Highway, river rafting in the highlands, etc).

Tourism Demand Analysis; i.e. tourism turnover (per month/per year), product cycles and demand, and other related statistics for comparative analysis to further plan and strategize.

Tourists Attraction Facilities and Infrastructure Designing and Development, Feasibility studies, and Investment planning; eg. Hoteliers' infrastructure plans, designs, concerns, etc. Government fees (immigration visas), levies (departure tax), regulations, etc.

Historical and Cultural Heritage Preservation initiatives and Environmental management; i.e, WWII sites, cultural sites and shows, ecotourism sites and preservation, etc.

Institutional, Administrative and Human Resource strengthening; i.e. funding, management training and strengthening, and human resource multi-skilling to deal with type of tourists and products to sell, including village/community considerations.

I believe that if TPA could have this broad Plan, all stakeholders, both within government and the private sector, would be held accountable in the management of our tourism industry and its promotion. Simply stated, the buck doesn't stop with TPA.

On the other hand, promoting tourism is not as simple as sending out newsletters or holding expositions. We have to continuously plan and strategize and fund implementation of these plans. The strategy for economic development in the tourism sector should be all-inclusive.

Now open up that TPA Forum for more constructive contribution.

Regards to all.

Graham Michael
PNG Embassy
Washington, D.C.

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Old 13-11-2002, 02:00 PM
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John Rei - Media Council

Malum and team at the TPA,

please send out infor pack on the friends of tourism png. this will allow all ths good comments and suggestions to be gauged.

keep it burning

John Rei
Media Council of PNG

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Old 13-11-2002, 05:54 PM
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I'm an American who just got back (Nov7) from PNG on a two and a half week vacation. The vacation, as a whole, was fantastic. I definitely will go back. The only problems I encountered were due to Mt. Pago and the volcanoes at Rabual. However, these were made worse by some misinformation given to me by a LARGE travel operator in PNG. They insisted, first, that one of the resorts I was to stay at had closed, then insisted that the road to it was closed. Both were untrue, and I can only assume that they were trying to get me to stay at one of their properties instead. It didn't work. But it would have if I didn't stumble upon PNG FORUMS, where I found out what was really going on.

The answer to all of the travel industry problems in PNG is information based. It's almost impossible to get unbiased information through a travel agent with a financial tie to the answer. But who else do you ask?

When I got to POM I needed to get to Talasea airport, through Rabaul. I was told that I'd have to get off in Bialla and be driven three hours to the resort I was to stay at. I told the person that I wanted to buy Airlink tickets so I could fly directly to Talasea from Rabual, earlier than the PX flight was to arrive at Bialla, thereby saving me half a day traveling. The lady behind the counter just frowned. I could tell she didn't want me to know this. She must have had a reason ($) to get me on the PX flight. Luckily for me I had the Airlink schedule I printed off the internet the day before I left home. If I hadn't had that information I would have wasted another half day getting to the resort.

The resort I stayed at near Talasea told me they had been booked solid for SEPT/OCT/NOV and that the PAGO eruption, causing Hoskins airport to close, had caused almost everyone to cancel. When I got there on October 22nd it was just me and my wife. This place cost several hundred dollars US per day and holds over twenty people. You're probably thinking that there was nothing they could do. You'd be wrong. It's a diving resort, most of the people who go there are adventurous. If the resort would have contacted people and explained that everything is ok at the resort, and how they were going to get you there, they would have saved all or most of their bookings. They're fools. They didn't even try to contact anyone. I almost cancelled. If I wouldn't have gone the extra mile and fought to find out what was going on, I wouldn't have gone there. DARWIN will probably take care of this resort in time.

I could relate a few more of these situations, but they all end the same. The answer is unbiased info. If you can't get it the frustration becomes so great that it will prevent most people from going back, or cause them to cancel their trips. What's the answer? Advertising and communication. The people I talked to from Australia said that the only thing ever printed in AUS newpapers about PNG are all negative. The PNG government should take out ads in the AUS papers touting the travel possibilities in PNG. Most people in the USA look at me funny when I say I was in PNG. Very few even know where it is. Advertising and unbias communications through travel agents are the only way I know of to correct that. The government leaders would have to spend some cash promoting the country, and looking at the condition of the PNG National Highway between Tari and the Tari Gap, I'm thinking they're spending the money on something else.

As far as the customs agents at the airport, I didn't notice anything on the way in. The lines weren't that long, but there was only one plane. On the way out though, I did notice the woman at the desk had several stains on her shirt. I thought it odd that there was a person trusted to OK us leaving their country that either didn't have the intelligence to realize that she shouldn't look like that, or didn't have the means to clean her shirt. I figured it was the later. Shame on PNG Customs for not providing a clean uniform to the last person I talked to in PNG.

Brian Allen
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Old 13-11-2002, 11:39 PM
keith parascos keith parascos is offline
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The attitudes of customs officials at the airport appear to be of great concern and rightly so as first impressions are indeed important as has been stated. But this is really a trivial matter as it can be very quickly turned around at just one afternoon's workshop by personnel trained in the art of teaching staff on how to receive members of the general public in a pleasant and civil manner. The custom officials will learn that it is very possible to be happy and pleasant to visitors while carrying out their duties efficiently.
As for the hotels, I am not a hotelier, but I assume the staff there are encouraged to double book to a certain percentage, arrived at statistically, to allow for 'no shows'. If blunders are made, corrective actions should be taken to prevent recurrencies. But staff must also be trained on how to treat the visitors if they are caught short. Most visitors are, so far from their homes, families, friends, and familiar surroundings, highly stressed and on the verge of panic, so it is important to reassure them at all times - kind words, somewhere to sit, a cup of coffee etc.
The answer is training, training, training. There can never be enough of it.
Once the tourists are in the country, what next? Well the most important thing is to send them home safe and sound after a happy holiday in PNG.
I will write at a later date on what I think tourists can, and will want to do in PNG, and also the country's responsibilities to them.
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Old 14-11-2002, 11:04 PM
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Falling off the Map by Elizabeth Feizkhah

Papua New Guinea's bad rap is keeping tourists away - and locals poor - By Elizabeth Feizkhah

Papua new guinea came late to the atlases. its coastline wasn't traced until 1897; half a century later, its interior was a series of question marks. In the 1960s, Australian-led patrols were still encountering people who had never seen a white man-people who, for all the world knew of them, might have lived on the moon. Today, P.N.G. is a few hours by jet from Sydney or Tokyo. Yet to the world of tourism, the country is almost as obscure as it was to early explorers. The names they gave it would make apt titles for travel brochures: The Last Unknown, The Undiscovered Country, The Land that Time Forgot.

P.N.G. does have visitors, of course. There are enough mining engineers, salesmen, aid workers and fisheries experts to keep the hotel doors open and the porters running. But tourists-people who've come to see wild and crazy cultures, trek through cloud-wreathed rainforests or snooze on palm-fringed beaches-are as scarce as bird-of-paradise teeth. In 1973, two years before independence, New Guinea had about 24,000 tourists; last year only 14,000 arrived. (Fiji, by contrast, had 300,000 tourists; Bali a million.)

Those who venture to New Guinea tend to be well traveled: it's often the last place they've never been. But once they glimpse the dizzying diversity of the country's cultures and landscapes, "many clients tell us P.N.G. has been the highlight of their lifetime's travel," says David McTaggart, of Trans Niugini Tours. The visitors may have dived on World War II shipwrecks or climbed into dormant volcanoes. They may have sailed with the shark callers of New Ireland or seen smoked corpses in former cannibal country. But what strikes them most is their own prominence. Hotel staff and tour guides are regularly asked, "Why aren't there more tourists here?"

The answers are many, but they boil down to one word: publicity. "The tourism world doesn't know what P .N.G. is," says Jim Yomapisi, a manager at the Tourism Promotion Authority. "And what it knows is only negative things." International newspapers seldom mention the country; in Australia, its colonial- era godparent, they focus on mining, boat people and trouble: riots put p.n.g. on knife edge; tribal warfare kills 8; p.n.g.looks in danger of spiraling into chaos.

The headlines aren't wrong: the fractious young nation faces huge problems. Crime is one of them, and tourists are occasionally attacked, robbed or raped. But headlines aren't the whole story. Most of the country is tranquil and its people friendly. Risks can be minimized by using common sense: travel with others; don't wander the streets at night; don't flash wads of cash; avoid high-crime areas like the capital, Port Moresby. "Bad things happen to tourists in other countries," says Opina Tuku, a bellboy at the city's Holiday Inn. "People still go to those places. But they're afraid to come here."

Nothing much happens on Samarai island, at the eastern tip ofP.N.G. But last month, a week before it was due to anchor there, the American cruise liner Silver Shadow canceled, citing "reports... that the unstable political situation in P . N. G. is causing local unrest." Local residents were dumbfounded: the biggest event in their year is a cruise ship's arrival. Sir Peter Barter, owner of the Madang Resort Hotel and the riverboat Melanesian Discoverer (now up for sale "because there aren't enough bookings"), says tourism is being strangled by scare stories: in 35 years, his company has handled 42,000 visitors, "and we've never had an offense against any of them."

Like beef and the Australian Democrats, P.N.G. needs a new image. "We'd like to be more like Fiji," says the tourism authority's Yomapisi. "After the coup they moved very quickly to correct the damage." With effective marketing and a credible effort against crime, says Theo Levantis, a Canberra economist who is writing a book on New Guinea tourism, the country "has the potential to attract a million tourists a year." But marketing costs money, and the tourism authority hasn't any. It has ideas-setting up a damage control committee to counter bad news, deploying tourist police, designating "tourist-safe" areas, upgrading airports so visitors can bypass Port Moresby-but it can't implement them. Its working budget is $500,000 a year (Fiji spends $7 million).

P.N.G. is poor, but its politicians have no trouble finding money for dubious quick-profit schemes or voter handouts at election time. When it comes to supporting tourism, though, they waver. Why should they spend precious funds promoting the image of the nation when their jobs depend on advancing the interests of their clan? Why make plans that will take years to bear fruit when their clansmen are clamoring for help now? Most New Guineans think tourism in their locality would make people better off. But tourism won't happen until the nation is better known. To make it in the global marketplace, you need a
desirable image. If you're not a brand-name destination, you're just a blank space on the map.

Elizabeth Feizkhah :
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Old 14-11-2002, 11:09 PM
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Dear Aussie,

I am afraid that my pics were, apparently, victims of the X-ray machine at the airport in Port Moresby Airport and all exposures were
wiped out.


Paul Stenhouse

Editors Note: If we are trying to build up tourism, perhaps we should ask tourists if they are carrying film and state that what might happen.

Surely this will then give them a chance to remove them from the bag that is about to be X-Rayed.
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